Ingredients Used In Making Homemade Beer
Making beer at home is a great hobby, and advances in the technology and equipment, not to mention the ingredients, have made it easy for anyone who has an interest in making homemade beer to produce excellent quality home brew.
I’ve talked to many people who have considered creating their own home brewery, but are intimidated by the process. Let’s dispel some myths right now.
Anyone can learn to brew their own beer, and it’s easier than you might think
Let’s begin by taking a look at the ingredients that go into making a batch of home brew.
The Four Basic Ingredients In Beer
Water for beer brewing
Pure Clean Water Is Best For Beer Making
Water – At 95%, water is the most plentiful ingredient in beer. Brewers put a great deal of emphasis on the water they use. Some will only deal with bottled water from the store, while others are content to boil their tap water and not go for the extra expense.
Depending on your area of the country ( or world ) the water can be treated with various chemicals such as chlorine and fluoride, and while it’s possible to adjust the water quality by adding even more chemicals to it, why not just spend a few extra dollars and make sure you’re using the good stuff.
One word of advice about water I would give is not to use distilled water. People mistakenly believe that distilled water is the best option, as it has all the impurities removed from it during the distillation process.
But beer makers need some of the properties that are naturally contained in water because they enhance the flavor.
malt for brewing beer.
Sprouted Malt Ready To Make Homemade Beer
• Malt – Most beer makers use malt in their process, which is nothing more than malted barley. Malted barley is produced by soaking the grains in water until they are sprouted. When barley sprouts it begins to produce starches that are perfect for beer making, because they are essentially simple sugars. The barley is then dried out.
The yeast used in making homemade beer eats the sugar and turns it into ethyl alcohol. In order to bring out the best of the barley it must be cracked and boiled during the beer making process.
As aside note, not all beers use barley, although it’s the most common grain used by far. Some brewers use wheat and oats, or even rye, to make their home brew.
You should also note that some large breweries use corn as a substitute – or filler – because it’s cheaper than barley. Most people agree that you can definitely taste the difference.
Hop Plants Used In Home Brew Beer
• Hops – Hops are another critical component in beer, although it wasn’t always that way. Long ago, spices and other flavorings were added to increase its drinkability. Around the 8th century, beer makers in Europe began adding hops to their beer.
Adding hops to beer increases the bitterness, and this balances off the sweetness of the malt. Hops also add flavor and aroma, and some people prefer a “hoppy” beer, which is said to be bitter.
Where in the process you add your hops very much determines what the hops will contribute to the end product. For instance, if you add hops during the boiling process your beer will tend to be more bitter, but if you add hops after the wort has cooled a bit, you’ll get more hop flavor and aroma.
There are a few ways to add hops to home brew, including as a whole leaf, a hop pellet, which is shredded hops that are compressed into pellet form, and also as an extract in liquid form.
There are many varieties of hops, but two that are essentially spoken about for brewing; aromatic and bittering. Debates rage over the perfect hops for the type of beer you’re brewing, with each brewer having their own favorite variety, and some even going so far as to grow their own hops.
Brewers yeast at work
Yeast Used In Making Beer
• Yeast – Another much debated subject among home brewers is that of which yeast to use in their homemade beer. Once again, there are many varieties to choose from, but each has a specific purpose and function.
You can think of yeast as the catalyst the drives the process of beer making. Without it, you would have no alcohol, because it’s the yeast that eat the malt sugars during fermentation that provide the alcohol and also the carbonation to make beer what it is.
Yeast is everywhere, as wild yeast is on just about eery surface you touch. It’s even in the air we breathe, but we can’t just let our beer ferment naturally, although some traditional processes still use this technique.
We like to be more in control of our fermentation, so we choose a yeast that works well with the beer we’re brewing, and the carefully control the temperature to make sure the fermentation goes as planned.
You can read more about beer making yeast here.
These are the most basic ingredients that you’ll find in all beer. There are other ingredients used when people feel like experimenting, such as coriander spice and also orange peel. Other fruits could include cherries or blueberries that are actually added during the fermentation process.
Where To Find Beer Making Ingredients
If you’ve already invested in beer making equipment, all you’ll need to do is add ingredients to get your home brewery up and running.
Some people are lucky enough to have a brewing supply store right around the corner from them. Others, like me, rely on the Internet to order their supplies.
Whatever your method, don’t forget to talk to the supplier if you have any questions at all. He or she has probably been brewing beer for a long time and can answer any question you have regarding all steps of the home brewing process.
Sometimes asking a simple question can save you money and time, or increase your enjoyment of the beer making process.
Don’t let the fact that you don’t have a supply store close by stop you from making your own beer. Get friendly with an internet supply house fire away those questions. They all love to help and enjoy the home brew process.